Yesterday (February 25, 2012) the New York Times reported that US still agencies continue to believe that Iran is NOT trying to develop nuclear weapons. That was a shocker, given the current war fever being whipped up in the US and Israel.
However, there is a bigger question. Is the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty sustainable? This treaty basically says that there is a privileged group of nations that has nuclear weapons and will keep them, and the rest of the world which is prohibited from having them. Or, to put it more bluntly, there are a few countries which get to tell all the others what do do and when to do it.
For those of us who are Americans, it’s easy to miss the point here. Americans tend to think that we are benevolent and friendly, so we don’t see why anyone would mind if we dominate them. With a little effort, though, you can see it the way others do–which can be summed up as “The US is great until they want our resources.”
As a result, many countries have proceeded to develop their own nuclear weapons, ignoring the treaty (or refusing to sign it). These include, at a minimum, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The list is likely to grow, whatever Iran might do.
Having fewer countries with nukes is better than having more; but it doesn’t work. The only real path to a safe future is the abolition of all nuclear weapons. The US, as the biggest nuclear power, has to take the lead on this. There is little sign that it will do so any time soon, but until it does nonproliferation will continue to fail.